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The Pink Princesa

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“This is not a baby shower, it’s a coronation!”

That was spoken by my best friend (a Nebraska native) as she walked into the hall on Calle Ocho in Miami where my Cuban-style baby shower was hosted. She was right. My mother and aunts turned that simple little place into a regal palace of pink. They made little candle favors and pin favors with prayers and “Carrie’s Baby Shower” printed on them. Pink balloons, pink tablecloths, pink frosting. Pink everything. They willingly became my subjects—or subjects to the unborn child every single one of them had helped me pray for.

I had made no secret of the battle with infertility we had for eighteen months. I made no secret in the ten years before I already knew it would not be easy. Every person at my very Latina baby shower—from tias to old neighbors, to best friends from grade school—rode the wave of expectant joy with me when it finally happened in my thirty-sixth year.

A few weeks later, in the long hours I labored with Maria, the image of those women huddled together in their perfumed glory, giving me Mami advice, laughing at my plans for natural birth (“Que loca!”) helped minimize the fact my hips felt like flying out of their sockets each time a contraction hit. I meditated on them. I needed them.

My daughter was occiput posterior—head down and sunny side up. Not the ideal position for unmedicated delivery by a first-time mother. She was stuck. (The image of mi familia and friends, by the way, always will compete with the memory of my yelling, “The butt, the butt!” and begging my husband and midwife to squeeze my hips together … but that’s another post.)

At hour thirty-seven, Maria Felice was delivered by C-section as my exhausted midwife cheered. My husband and I cried the instant we heard our daughter’s fierce howl. She was pink, hairy, and a little banged up. But strong and perfect, too.

She was born into a gang of people in various cities and countries who loved and adored her way before she was conceived. I am not an overly cautious or fearful mother. You would think, given the fact we’re “older” parents who overcame infertility, that I would be. But, if I had to give a reason, I would say this child has been so wanted and so lifted up by the prayers of my people, that she will be fine, fine, fine. She is a happy, healthy, and tough little chiquitica. Crowned as La Pink Princesa de Calle Ocho and Middle Tennessee, how could she not be?

Maria is four-years-old today.

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